StrictlyVC: March 3, 2016

Hi, happy Thursday, everyone.:)

No column today. Yesterday was busy, punctuated by a dinner in one of San Francisco’s tiniest restaurants. (Delicious food!)


Top News in the A.M.

Amazon just added two new members to its Echo family.


New Funds

Africa Internet Group, a three-year-old, Lagos, Nigeria-based outfit that owns online retailer Jumia, has raised $326 million in funding, including a previously disclosed chunk of money from AXA. Other backers include existing stakeholders MTN, an Africa mobile operator; Rocket Internet; and new backer Goldman Sachs. TechCrunch has more here.

Fe3 Medical, an eight-year-old, San Antonio, Tex.-based company whose transdermal patch helps patients suffering from iron-deficiency anemia, has raised $11 million in Series B funding led by the Chinese drug company Jianmin Pharmaceuticals. Other participants include HG Capital, PingAn Ventures, and earlier investor InCube Ventures. The San Antonio Express-News has more here.

GoTenna, a four-year-old, Brooklyn-based startup whose pocket-size communication tool lets smartphones talk to one another without cell service, has raised a $7.5 million Series A led by earlier backer Walden Venture Capital, with participation from MentorTech Ventures, BBG Ventures, Bloomberg Beta,, and individual investors. TechCrunch has more here.

Haizhi, a three-year-old, China-based cloud computing service provider, has raised $30 million in Series C funding led by Legend Capital. The round reportedly values the company at $250 million. DealStreetAsia has more here.

iAngels Crowd, a 2.5-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based crowdfunding investing network that matches international investors with Israeli startups (that are already backed by Israeli investors), has raised $14 million in Series B funding led by the Australia-based Thorney Investment Group. Venture Capital Dispatch has more here.

Mapillary, a two-year-old, Malmo, Sweden-based startup that’s using crowdsourced photos to create an open source, B2B database to compete with Google’s Street View, has raised $8 million in Series A funding from AtomicoSequoia Capital, LDV Capital, and PlayFair. TechCrunch has more here.

Oro, a 3.5-year-old, L.A.-based company that makes open-source tools for CRM and B2B e-commerce, has raised $12 million in Series A funding from Highland Europe. has more here.

OurCrowd, a three-year-old, Jerusalem-based global equity crowdfunding platform, has raised $10 million from Singapore-based United Overseas Bank in a deal that heralds OurCrowd’s first major foray into Asia. DealStreetAsia hasmore here.

Pathmatics, a 5.5-year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based company that sells analytics products to the online display advertising industry, has raised $3 million in Series A funding led by Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, with participation from Wavemaker Partners, Manatt Venture Partners, and earlier investors Upfront Ventures, Karlin Ventures, Baroda VenturesDouble M Partners and Daher Capital. VentureBeat has more here.

Roofstock, a year-old, Oakland, Ca.-based online marketplace for buying and selling already-rented homes (so you get tenants and cash flow immediately), has raised $13.25 million in Series A funding from Khosla Ventures, investor Ron Conway, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Bain Capital, and others. TechCrunch has more here.

Wrap Media, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based storytelling and commerce platform for brands, has raised $4 million in new funding from returning investor Dream Incubator, a Tokyo-based consulting and private equity firm that has also signed a strategic partnership with Wrap Media. TechCrunch has more on the company — which has now raised $22.7 million altogether — here.

XJet, an 11-year-old, Rehovot, Israel-based startup that develops technology for 3D printing for metal parts, has raised $25 million in new funding led by Catalyst CEL and Autodesk. Reuters has more here.


New Funds

FreshTracks Capital, a 16-year-old, Vermont-based venture capital firm, is targeting $25 million for its fourth fund, shows an SEC filing.

Kensington Capital Partners, a Toronto-based alternative asset investment firm, has closed a new venture capital fund of funds with C$306 million ($227.9 million) in commitments. The firm began raising the fund in November 2014. More here.

Ted Leonsis is starting another venture fund: This one will be a $10 million pool designed to invest in tech startups with the potential to change the way users watch and experience sports. Leonsis is also a cofounder of Revolution Growth. The Washington Business Journal has more here.

Peakspan Capital, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based venture firm focused exclusively on growth-stage, B2B and other enterprise software companies, has closed on $150 million for its debut fund, shows an SEC filing. Among its newest deals: MindTouch, a San Diego-based company that provides cloud-based answers to consumer product questions and that raised $12 million in funding last month.



Cisco said yesterday that it’s acquiring Israeli chip designer Leaba Semiconductor for $320 million. TechCrunch has more here.

RNTS, the German company, has acquired Inneractive, an Israeli-based real-time bidding and mobile ad exchange, for $46 million in cash, plus up to $26 million in earn-outs and retention payments. TechCrunch has more here.



Yesterday, former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon, who in more recent years had cofounded the early-stage venture firm Deep Fork Capital,drove into the bottom of an overpass at what authorities describe as a “high rate of speed,” and died. McClendon was charged on Tuesday with conspiring to rig bids to buy oil and natural gas leases in the state; he was slated to turn himself into authorities late yesterday morning.

Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk may have a new problem. It’s now the target of one of Wall Street’s most prominent short sellers.

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is now on a military advisory board for the Pentagon.

Like a boss: LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner is forgoing his annual stock package, worth $14 million so that employees can have it instead. “Jeff did not receive an equity package this year at his request,” a company spokesperson tells Recode. “He asked the Compensation Committee to . . . put it back in the pool for employees.”

Former Snapchat and Instagram executive Emily White has created a high-end personal concierge startup, says Fortune. The new Santa Monica, Ca.-based startup is called Mave and it’s apparently akin to a “chief of staff” for users’ households.



LendingClub is hiring a director of corporate strategy. The job is in San Francisco.

Levis is looking for a director of corporate development. The job is in San Francisco.

Syntheo Ventures, a seed-stage outfit backed by Banco Santander, is hiring an associate. The job is in London.


Essential Reads

This Wall Street firm says virtual reality is like smartphones nine years ago.

Mercedes is booting robots from its production line.



First listen: Jeff Buckley, “You and I.”

The market is definitely doomed now.


Retail Therapy

The most expensive SUV in the world.

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